FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ATLANTA, Ga., June 15, 2020 –– Today, OUT Georgia Business Alliance responds to the historic 6-3 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia affirming that sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination are prohibited under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
“This is a truly monumental moment for LGBTQ+ Americans and millions of proud workers nationwide,” said Chris Lugo, Executive Director of the OUT Georgia Business Alliance. “We believe all Americans, regardless of who they are or who they love, deserve to pursue work and keep employment without fear of discrimination under federal law. We’re elated by the court’s ruling!”
Justice Neil Gorsuch issued the Court’s 6-3 opinion stating that “an employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”
“While today’s ruling is a huge step forward, our work is not done,” Lugo added. “OUT Georgia urges our LGBTQ+ and ally business community to build on this momentum and play a leading role in the swift passage of hate crimes legislation and non-discrimination protections for all Georgians.”
“Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act typically applies to businesses with 15 or more employees, which is another powerful reason why Georgia should advance local and state protections consistent with federal law.”
OUT Georgia acknowledges the bravery of those who helped advance these landmark cases to the U.S. Supreme Court, including Donald Zarda and Aimee Stephens, who both passed before the ruling, and Georgia’s own Gerald Lynn Bostock, who was fired from his job as a county child welfare services coordinator when his employer learned he is gay.
“We must continue to address discrimination in housing, public accommodations, and healthcare, and we stress the inclusion and protection of LGBTQ+ people of color, and black transgender women in particular, who face disproportionately high rates of anti-LGBTQ+ violence and discrimination,” said Lugo.
Georgia’s LGBTQ+ chamber of commerce stands in solidarity with Black people against racism, racial violence, police brutality, and the senseless murders of Black people in this country, including Raychard Brooks, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Dominique Rem’mie Fells, Riah Milton, and far too many black and brown Americans whose lives have been cut short because of racist violence.
The LGBTQ+ community is critical to the American economy. Today’s ruling is a victory for our community and exemplifies the work of organizations like the OUT Georgia Business Alliance. We will continue advocating for the most inclusive and equitable business environment; providing support and resources to fuel economic growth; and driving meaningful community connections and impact across the State of Georgia.
In R.G. & G.R. HARRIS FUNERAL HOMES v. EEOC and AIMEE STEPHENS, Aimee Stephens worked as a funeral director at R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes. When she informed the funeral home’s owner that she is transgender and planned to come to work as the woman she is, the business owner fired her, saying it would be “unacceptable” for her to appear and behave as a woman. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in March 2018 that when the funeral home fired her for being transgender and departing from sex stereotypes, it violated Title VII, the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in employment.
In ALTITUDE EXPRESS INC. v. ZARDA, Donald Zarda, a skydiving instructor, was fired from his job because of his sexual orientation. A federal trial court rejected his discrimination claim, saying that the Civil Rights Act does not protect him from losing his job because of his sexual orientation. In February 2018, the full Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of discrimination based on sex that is prohibited under Title VII. The court recognized that when a lesbian, gay or bisexual person is treated differently because of discomfort or disapproval that they are attracted to people of the same sex, that’s discrimination based on sex.
In BOSTOCK v. CLAYTON COUNTY, Gerald Lynn Bostock was fired from his job as a county child welfare services coordinator when his employer learned he is gay. In May 2018, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reconsider a 1979 decision wrongly excluding sexual orientation discrimination from coverage under Title VII’s ban on sex discrimination and denied his appeal.
OUT Georgia Business Alliance
About OUT Georgia Business Alliance
OUT Georgia Business Alliance proudly serves as Georgia’s only LGBTQ+ and Allied Chamber of Commerce.
Since 1994, OUT Georgia Business Alliance (formerly the Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce) has served the LGBTQ+ and Allied business community by advocating for the most inclusive and equitable business environment; providing support and resources to fuel economic growth; and driving meaningful community connections and impact across the State of Georgia.
OUT Georgia Business Alliance is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., and is a proud affiliate of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. For more information, contact us at OUTGeorgia.org or info@OUTGeorgia.org.